May­ors tip sav­age rate rise

STATE FUND­ING FALLS FAR SHORT OF COST

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - South Park - Michele Nu­gent

MAY­ORS from the ci­ties of Bel­mont and South Perth and the Town of Vic­to­ria Park all ex­pressed ex­treme dis­ap­point­ment with fund­ing op­tions of­fered by the State Gov­ern­ment to help them achieve lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form after a brief­ing last Wed­nes­day.

And all said the cost bur­den of amal­ga­mat­ing Vic­to­ria Park with South Perth and in­cor­po­rat­ing the Shire Kalamunda within an ex­panded City of Bel­mont bound­ary would be borne by ratepay­ers.

At the end of the meet­ing be­tween met­ro­pol­i­tan may­ors and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Tony Simp­son, Vic­to­ria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughan said “it’s not enough”.

“We’ll have to fund all the cost of amal­ga­mat­ing,” Mr Vaughan said.

“I can see that rates will def­i­nitely go up, but we’ll have to find ways to fund it while keep­ing our rates in­creases in the CPI.”

He was re­fer­ring to the State Gov­ern­ment’s $60 mil­lion fund­ing pack­age for re- form that in­cludes up to $15 mil­lion in grants, with $5 mil­lion each fi­nan­cial year from 2014-15, plus $45 mil­lion in loans with a 2 per cent sub­sidy on the in­ter­est rate.

Vic­to­ria Park act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer An­thony Vuleta said last week that the cost of amal­ga­mat­ing South Perth and Vic­to­ria Park would be about $15 mil­lion, well above the $2 mil­lion per coun­cil pro­vided by gov­ern­ment..

South Perth Mayor Sue Do­herty, whose coun­cil pulled out of re­form ne­go­ti­a­tions ear­lier this year in protest at a lack of gov­ern­ment fund­ing as­sis­tance, said the com­mu­nity would now pay the price for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of State Gov­ern­ment pol­icy through an in­crease in their rates and re­duc­tion in ser­vice de­liv­ery.

South Perth coun­cil will con­sider ap­ply­ing for fund­ing at a spe­cial meet­ing tonight.

Bel­mont Mayor Phil Marks said the sug­gested cost of in­cor­po­rat­ing Kalamunda in its ex­panded bound­aries would be $5mil­lion to $7 mil­lion.

He said a $1.25 mil­lion grant per amal­ga­ma­tion left a short­fall of $3.75-$5.75 mil­lion to be funded by af­fected ratepay­ers through re­pay­ment of loan bor­row­ings. “The LGAB has not in­cluded in its con­sid­er­a­tions the lat­est prop­erty val­u­a­tion data for rat­ing pur­poses,” Cr Marks said.

“In our case, there is a dif­fer­en­tial in the res­i­den­tial rate in the dol­lar of 18.4 per cent. An im­me­di­ate cor­rec­tion would re­sult in ei­ther an 18.4 per cent in­crease for Bel­mont ratepay­ers, or an 18.4 per cent de­crease for Kalamunda ratepay­ers.

“Any al­ter­na­tive adjustment be­tween th­ese ex­tremes will re­sult in a dis­ad­van­tage to Bel­mont ratepay­ers.

“The ad­di­tional cost to the com­mu­nity could be as much as $3.5m for res­i­den­tial rates alone.”

Vic­to­ria Park mayor Trevor Vaughan was all smiles for the cam­era be­fore last week's brief­ing but af­ter­wards said state fund­ing as­sis­tance was “not enough”.

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